Members of the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair and Exposition hosted a dinner at the fairgrounds to recognize seven Miami-Dade County students for their community service efforts.
Each finalist received $100; Walter B. Arnold Jr. Hall of Fame Community Service Award winners received an additional $1,000.
The hall of fame winners included Shawn Kouri from Hialeah High School and Madison Amador from Leewood K-8 Center. After facing his challenges with visual impairment and autism, Shawn launched the Buddha Bag Project and spent more than 1,000 hours serving the homeless community by providing backpacks filled with food, hygiene products and first aid items. Madison was honored for mentoring students through the Teen Trendsetters program and for providing childcare for adopted children at the His House Children’s Home and St. John Neumann Catholic Church and Christ Fellowship.
The finalists included Arthur Codrington of John F. Kennedy Middle School, Raymond Hung of Lawton Chiles Middle School, Isabel Yip of George Washington Carver Middle School, Edward Leonard of New World School of the Arts, and Hope Morales of Palmer Trinity School.
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Arthur has worked with the agricultural workforce since middle school, is chapter president of Future Farmers of America, teaches sixth-graders, and is a representative of the Business, Economic and Technology Academy magnet program at his school.
Raymond helps others learn about drug prevention and created a project to show the benefits of staying drug-free, living a healthy lifestyle, and making good choices while having fun with animals.
Isabel has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten and started a community service project to renovate four rooms at the Paws 4 You Rescue shelter in Miami, and organized a garage sale to raise money for remodeling materials.
At his grandmother’s burial 10 years ago, Edward noticed that the graveyard was filled with trash, untrimmed grass, and faded gravestones, so he decided to make a change. In his junior year, he was nominated as a youth representative on the Coconut Grove Coalition committee and raised funds to place flowers on more than 100 gravestones.
The final honoree was Hope, the founder and president of the Falcons Special Olympics Club at her school and helps to train adults before the games. She was inspired to educate others about individuals with disabilities after witnessing social stigma towards her aunt, who has a developmental disability.
Miami Beach High School
Bleu O’Brien of Miami Beach High School was awarded the 2017 Carole Taran Award for Excellence in Performing Arts by 1308 Productions, an organization that supports music education in public schools.
Carole Taran was an alumna of Miami Beach High and held a career in music and performance during and after high school. After Taran’s death in 2013, nephew Jason Novack and niece Allison Novack, founders of 1308 Productions, decided to host an award in her honor to recognize the most outstanding student in performing arts.
Bleu has performed in nine school productions and held five leading roles. He has also served as president of the Thespian Society and received honors from international and district competitions in various categories, including Small Group Musical and Ensemble, Monologue, and Duet Acting. He was a recipient of the 1016 All Star Award at the District One Competition; and the recipient of the 2016 Best Film and Best Director awards from the Miami Beach Film Festival.
Bleu received a $500 scholarship and will be attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles.
Booker T. Washington High School
The Booker T. Washington Alumni Foundation and Alumni Association awarded 25 seniors with $2,500 and $1,500 scholarships that were donated from community organizations, family memorials and alumni from 1959-68.
Two $2,500 scholarships were also presented by Miami-Dade County District 3 Commissioner Audrey Edmonson in honor of former El Portal Mayor Daisy Black, who in 2016 collapsed at a candidate forum and died.
Scholarship winners included Daymara Neyra, YaJaira Bonilla, Shamya Bennett, Amanda Stewart, Melissa Rueda, Latrone Evans, Tre Reid, Precious Graham, Harry Tattay, Gabriella Duroseau, Tamia Baker, Kierra Roma, Victoria Camacho, Samuel Elissaint, Canndace Solomon, Brianna Clear, Christina Owens, Kamara Williams, Atiya Banks, Gwendolyn Antenor, Ezekiel Hobbs, Victor Fleary, Carmila Berdial, Brienne Luccean and Maya Solomon.
If you have news for this column, please send it to Adrianne Richardson at email@example.com.